I keep thinking, after talking with Penny and Sally, of how the system is failing not only the kids in foster care but also the adults. I think of some of my favorite bloggers like Rebecca at Fosterhood and Carrie Ann/Andrew at Fosterwee writing about their experiences as foster parents. Let’s use Penny as an example. As a caveat, I don’t know all of the facts surrounding this case or this woman’s life. I am judging solely on the facts and first-person information that I have received!
Penny is a middle aged woman. She is divorced. She has two teen sons that were adopted from foster care (I made the assumption that it occurred while she was married but I do not know this for sure, only an inclination I got from both Penny and Sally). She does not work. I do not know her financial situation, only that she told me she has to start babysitting to make money since the sibling group will be removed from her home. She has been fostering and doing respite care for a number of years. She is a nervous woman, people pleasing, and eager. She is loving and thoughtful. She planned the whole summer for the sibling group, signing them up for various camps and a summer musical. She stated many times that she would adopt the nine year old alone, but it was too much with the siblings. She is heartbroken that she has to have the children removed, but also frustrated at the time it has taken the agency to remove them from her home.
The children are six, seven and nine. They have been in and out of foster care. It is my understanding that they were never placed together in foster care, that the younger two were placed and the older girl were placed separately. On June 26th, they saw the termination of parental rights and moved in with their new forever family. Their world was rocked. They would be going to new schools, living with new siblings (three or four new siblings each to get used to), living with a new foster mother, getting adjusted to their new life. Then they go to counseling and it’s determined that they will be moved out of their new forever home. They don’t know when. They don’t know where. We are failing these kids.
So how did we get here? How did we get to the place where parental rights were terminated for three children and within the first weeks at their new forever home they are being removed?
Why didn’t they live together before TPR? Who decided if it hadn’t happened in the past (the three living together) that it should start now?
Should a single mother with no (obvious) outside income be approved to raise five on her own? I’m not judging her ability, but considering the best for all children involved, especially as jealousy and attention has been a big factor in the removal.
Was Penny pushed to take the other two siblings? Did she ask to take them?
Did she have access to appropriate post-adoptive services? I know it’s not post-adoption, but it’s a similar concept.
How is a family with three existing (small children) given the option of taking three more children, one of whom definitely has an issue with jealousy and lack of attention?
I feel badly for the kids. I feel badly for Penny and her two boys. It’s such an upheaval. There has to be a better way!